Filipino Senate sets out new law to guarantee minimum internet speeds

31 Jul 2020

The Philippines’ upper house, the Senate, is looking to pass legislation that would set the minimum standard for internet connection speeds in the country, the Manila Bulletin writes. In an interview this week, Senator Grace Poe explained that Senate Bill No. 471 is designed to direct the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to ‘put in place a certain standard for the internet services offered by telecommunication companies and internet service providers’. The senator confirmed the opinion that the two regulatory bodies should be responsible for setting the ‘proper’ internet speeds, adding that Senate Bill No. 471 had been discussed during the hearing of the Senate public service committee, which Poe chairs, on 1 July 2019. At that meeting, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto had reportedly proposed a minimum internet download speed of 10Mbps for mobile broadband/internet access, and 20Mbps for fixed and fixed-wireless platforms. Further, the Bill noted that service providers should also ‘work towards providing an average internet connection speed above global average’, although Poe now acknowledges that those minimums are low compared to many seen in other countries across the globe. Nonetheless, she pointed out the urgent need to legislate for new minimum internet service speeds, pointing out the exigent need for improvement due to ‘the shift to online transactions and learning amid the coronavirus pandemic’, among other things.